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Emma Bunton - June 2001

A GIRL LIKE EMMA!

How has being in the Spice Girls prepared you for a solo career?

Emma:
Being with the Spice Girls has helped me. I mean I could never be where I am today without experiencing that. We were very free and open. We wrote all our tracks. It just gave me confidence as well to be able to go on and do a solo career. The girls have been so supportive, it's unbelievable and I have been really supportive with them. And its so nice to have people you can talk to, in the business, that have gone off and done a solo career, that can give you advice. And say 'It's not that, you know, just try it, have a go'. I feel so lucky to be part of such a big band and then be able now to venture out into a solo career.

Being in the Spice Girls expanded your personal and musical horizons.....How has this influenced your solo album?

Emma:
Being able to travel the world with the girls was an amazing experience and also a real learning experience because I picked up so many different cultures, different sounds, met different people and that has definitely.... I have definitely taken that with me and put it onto my solo album. I think just with picking up different music. I really hope that you can hear that on my album, because its definitely in there, somewhere! (Laughter). I just feel really lucky. I have learnt so much along the way. Before with the girls, I was still living at home, and went to college where I lived and everything was kind of in one area and then to be able to travel all over and pick up so many new things was just unbelievable. When I was younger I wanted to go to America so much and it was like a dream. And then to be able to go there and experience it, it was like a different world for me. I feel like I have learnt so much. I have become more independent definitely.

How did your collaboration with Tin Tin out pave the way for you to be perceived as a solo artist?

Emma:
I think when Tin Tin Out came to me and asked me to sing on one of their tracks it was just an experience that I thought would be good to do. But it gave me confidence to feel like 'yeah I can go on and I can sing on my own'. But I had been writing before that. I had been writing my own material for quite a while before that. It was just something that came up and I enjoyed doing. And the boys are great. And they have actually done another track on my album. So, it's just nice to meet people and to be able to work with them again. I had a great time. Even though actually they were worst behaved than the girls are. They were awful! I had to keep telling them off. (Laughter) But I had a really good time. But I learnt......another thing that I learnt from I think.

Do you feel your solo material may appeal to a more mature audience than the spice girls?

Emma:
I think with the Spice Girls it was quite a young audience. But I think it was varied. You know my grandma loved it as well. So I think it was a wide audience. With my music the way that I have written. I love sweet melodies. I love pop music. My album varies. I enjoy emotion in music. And I have tried to put that into it. So if a young girl puts it on, she will feel that what she has been through and understand where I am coming from. And I think an older person will be able to relate to it as well. I really wanted lots of emotion in it. And it's got all different kind of sounds. It's got a little bit of R&B. A little bit of dance. But basically it's Pop.

What are the greatest challenges facing you as you start out as a solo artist?

Emma:
Well the greatest challenges I have found up till now is that I am just quite nervous .....about going into a solo career. Usually I have got three other girls with me, answering questions that I don't want to answer, and singing bits. (Laughter) Nervous but really excited. I am really excited about it. It's something that I have been looking forward to now, I have been writing for nearly a year and a half. And I write my own material. So, its like 'Here's my soul, what do you think?' (Laughter) It's very nerve racking, but I am just going to enjoy it. I have decided to say right 'I am just going to enjoy this. Whatever happens happens. Fingers crossed and just have a good time'.

It must be very exciting to present yourself as a solo artist for the first time...?

Emma:
It's a very exciting time. To be able to write your own music. To be able to write down your feelings and your emotions and just to write everything down in a song, is a lovely feeling and I also I always say I get this nervous kind of feeling in my tummy but its excitement. So it's quite a nice feeling. I am just really looking forward to it. I love doing videos. I love singing live. I just can't wait for the whole thing to get rolling. Obviously we are promoting at the moment which I love as well because you go round to all the TV's and meet all your friends. I just love the whole process. I feel really lucky. I just feel so lucky that I have got the chance to do this. And I am just going to really enjoy it.

How did you start the writing process for the album?

Emma:
I first started about a year and a half ago. I'm always coming up with different melodies and I'd put them down on a Dictaphone. But generally what I did was I went in with Producers and I said 'Look I have got an idea, I want to write about this'. And they would come up with production ideas.

And most of the Producers I worked with were really open with me. I wanted to work with people that I could put all my influence in it as well. And that they wouldn't take over too much and that we would work together. And luckily I found lots of people that I really enjoyed working with, connected with. I worked with a guy called Biff (Richard Stannard) who did a lot of the Spice stuff and so we're really good friends and that went really really well. And I just love writing. So I write down, you know even if I am in bed, and I think of something I write down little notes and then the next day if I am working with the Producer, I'll say 'Look I've got this idea what do you think?' So it all went really well.

Did you have a clear vision of the sound you were aiming for and how did you realize that with different Producers?

Emma:
I definitely had an idea of how I wanted to sound. And I was a little bit worried, because I can hear it in my head but to talk to Producers and say 'look this is what I want' is hard. But luckily everything that we've put down has sounded exactly how I wanted it to be. And I am so glad about that because it is hard trying to explain what I have got in my head to somebody else to put down to music. But I love looking over everything. I love being involved in Production as well. And saying 'Right turn the bass up, turn the vocals up'. I'm quite hands-on definitely.

What influences you most as a songwriter?

Emma:
It's been lots of things..... down to every day life, down to my mum has been a great influence in my life. Texas, Gabrielle, a real varied range of music. There's lots of things.... Every day influences me. And I try to learn something new every day. Everything I learn I put into my music.

Did you enjoy having complete control over all aspects of the writing and recording process?

Emma:
When you are doing your own album its quite weird because you can do anything you want! You're in the studio; you're with the Producer. You can do anything you want! And that was quite enjoyable. But I love working with people as well
I'm quite easy to work with other people. So I enjoy that just as much. I love learning off the other Girls. I love them both. I love doing my solo stuff because I can go mad and do whatever I want. I love working with them because we work so well together, we respect each other. And that's just as fun. I love doing them both and I'm lucky that I can do that.

How much is "A Girl like Me" a reflection of your personality and life?

Emma:
I've got a song on the album called "A Girl like Me" and it's also because I feel like any other "normal girl". I go through all the emotions that girls go through. I have grown up and been through 'I think I am in love' and then I have had my heart broken and I love my Mum and I get ready with the girls at night and so I have written a track about that. It's more what I have been through. I write about things that I have been through in my life and that have effected me emotionally.

Why have relationships inspired you as a songwriter on this album?

Emma:
I think yes, most of the songs are about some sort of relationship. But I think people will think 'Oh, its about a boy relationship and a girl relationship. When actually there are a couple of songs in there about my Mum, about a dear friend of mine. About someone who I have just been best friends with and now actually haven't spoken to. So there's all different relationships in there. Its not just always about a boy and girl. I try to make all my songs quite up and fun because even though sometimes relationships can be quite heavy, there is always a light side to them and a fun side to them which I think comes out in most relationships. (Laughter)

Where did you record and who did you choose to collaborate with?

Emma:
I was really lucky enough to record my album throughout the world. I worked in Miami, LA, New York, Dublin, London, Sweden. It was fantastic. You go to different environments, pick up different vibes. Which was brilliant. I worked with lots of different people. I worked with a guy called Andrew Frampton who is based in London and I hadn't worked with him before. He was brilliant, really open with me. We worked really well together, connected really well. I worked with Rodney Jerkins who is such fun and we just have a mad time when we are together. Lyrics are flying and melodies, (laughter) so that was quite a mad one. Biff who I just love to bits. He works on a lot of our Spice stuff. We always connect. There's something that just works with us. Sturken and Rogers who are based in New York. Who are also two new guys that I hadn't worked with before. And I was kind of like 'I want this kind of sound' and we worked really well together. Because before I got there we just.....They didn't do anything before I got there - we worked everything together, production, writing, everything, which was nice. Every one of them .... We are really good friends now. It's nice.

Why was it important to you to have as much input as possible into all aspects of the writing and recording of the album?

Emma:
It's very important to me to be involved with every aspect of the recording down to the production. I generally write all the lyrics. And I think because when I get up to sing a song, especially if it is live, I would find it really difficult to sing a song that I haven't written, that I emotionally can't be involved in, that's something that I just don't think I could do. When I get up and sing I want it to be from the heart. I want all these people that are watching me, I want them to know that I am singing it because I felt it and I have been there. And that kind of thing. So, it's very important for me to be involved in everything. I'm so hands on and I want to know what's going on and I don't want anything to change without me knowing about it.

Will you continue to have creative input into every other aspect of your solo career?

Emma:
Definitely, I think whatever I do, when its something that involves me, I just feel that it should come from me. I can't do it with passion otherwise. The video was my idea. Which is another thing that I am so nervous about, because it is my idea. It's like again, 'Right so what do you think?' Again! (Laughter) All my pictures, I kind of generally know what I want to wear. And things like that. My band - I like to be able to sit down with them make sure they are all right. It's funny because I met the band the other day and I am very much like 'I just want you to have fun. I just want us to have a good time on stage'. So I am hands-on with everything. I don't think people see that when you are up singing that actually on my day off, I am going through the video, and changing scenes. And it's quite hard work but it's enjoyable. At least I know it's right and it's what I want.

Did you learn any new things about your abilities as an artist during the recording process?

Emma:
I think being in this business you learn something about yourself every day. How you don't want to be and how you do want to be. With the album I learnt so much. I learnt that I had to be a little more forceful sometimes, because I am not that way generally. I learnt something different every day, with music, just generally, about production, about my vocals, I want to push them more, because I am quite a soft vocalist and I want to be a stronger, so I think there's something new everyday that you learn about yourself. Especially when you are doing your own album. And learning about other people..... There is just so much

Why did you choose "What took you so long?" as the first single?

Emma:
I chose "What Took You So Long?" as my first single when I wrote it. As soon as I was in there recording it and as soon as I heard it back, I just thought you this is the one. When I listen to it, it gives me a really good feeling. It's kind of an uplifting song. It's actually about, and this is no offence to men at all, or boys. But they tend to take a little bit longer to ask you out or realize they are in love and things like that. It's actually about that so its one of those where the girls can go out and buy it for their man. 'Right, listen to this. This is about you!' (Laughter) It's got lots of feeling in there. And I have been through that. I'm not going through that at the moment. But I have definitely been through that. Where a man has taken a bit longer to ask me out than I have wanted it to! (Laughter)

Tell us about the making of the video for "What took you so long?".....

Emma:
When I wrote the song "What Took You So Long?" I knew I wanted the video to be quite "deserty", waiting on the side of the road, what took him so long kind of thing. I knew that I wanted to work with a guy called Greg Masuak, he is just a fantastic guy. I worked with him on the video of Tin Tin Out. He also did a Spice Girl track "Who Do You Think You Are?" And he is just a lovely guy and I knew when I went to him I could give him all my ideas and he would work that and elaborate. We did the video about an hour from LA. I think it was in the Lancaster Desert. And we just had a great time. Greg is such fun to work with, he's always up and fun and laughing and it was freezing cold and I was in this little dress. We just had a great time and it went really well, luckily. I had to work with dogs though and I am really scared of dogs. And they looked like wolves and they came in and ohhh I was so scared. And I was like panicking but we got these shots which you will see on the video but we got these really good shots of them. He is such a lovely man to work with, easy, all my ideas came out and he just elaborated on them and we work really well together.


 



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